Monday, July 30, 2012

The Follow Through

I'm not writing this post as a parent, because Lord knows I'm basically just mediocre in that department since Mother of the Year is such a lame title (I mean who wants to bake and craft and day trip all day it's fucking exhausting), I'm writing this post as a teacher.  As a teacher, I'm pretty awesome.  I totally know my shit.  Not bragging, I just put a lot of effort and take every bit of criticism I can.  But anyway this post is about following through with your kids.

One of the first things they teach you in teacher school is that you never, ever under any circumstances threaten a child with something that you are unwilling to deliver.  If I tell a kid that if he misses one more homework assignment I'm calling his mother and I don't, then that kid knows I'm full of shit and won't take anything I say seriously.  Even if a 30 minute conversation about how little Timmy is acting like a total douche isn't living up to his full potential makes me want to claw my eyes out with a rusty rake, if I said I was going to do it...I have to do it.

The same thing goes with your kid.  There's so many times I've been out and I've heard this conversation:

Mom:  If you don't give Suzy back her toy you're going in time out.

Kid:  No

Mom:  If you don't give Suzy back her toy by the time I get to 3 you're getting a time out.

Kid:  No

Mom: 1...2...3.  That's it.  Time out.

Kid:  Ok here is the toy.

Mom:  Ok great job

No.  That kid didn't listen.  She gets a time out.  If you're counting out a kid or taking something away or whatever discipline approach you use, I beg you to please follow through with it.

Kids are smart.  Like scary smart when it comes to things like that.  Even the dopey ones who pee on the plants instead of the potty catch on really quickly to a parent who isn't going to follow through.  I get it...sometimes it's a pain in the ass to be an enforcer, especially when you know there is an epic tantrum coming your way.  It's easier to be a bit lazy about it and let it go, especially when you're in public.  Too bad, that is the job of a parent.

Is it or is it not the most annoying thing EVER when you're on a playdate with a kid and they completely won't listen to their parent at all.  There you have this parent who is completely begging and pleading and repeating to their child and the kid just does whatever they want.  It's because there's no follow through.  The child has no worries that the parent will actually take action because they don't follow through on threats.

I don't count Isabella out on everything, but when I do she knows I mean business and if I get to 3 you can sure as shit count on her getting a 3 minute time out regardless of where we are or how bad the wails are.  So this is me, as a teacher, stressing the importance of following through on what you say, for the good and the bad.
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7 comments:

Lil'Misa said...

Amen. Mean what you say and say what you mean.

Lil'Misa said...

Amen. Mean what you say and say what you mean.

Jo said...

Very true!

Madonna said...

Exactly. I make it a point to only threaten what I can handle following through with.

Of course, the kid stops behaving once we walk into Target and everyone stares as I shop with a screaming child. At home, she actually listens most of the time.

anotherjennifer said...

So true. This is why I pay attention to the threats I make. I know I need to follow through in the end!

Thanks for visiting my blog today.

Stephanie said...

As a teacher, I appreciate your life lesson! I haven't had to be consistent yet, as my baby girl is only 8 months, but I hope that I can follow through on the things I say to Reagan.

mtendere said...

Amen! When you force yourself to follow through, it also makes you think hard about making threats! My girl rarely gets to three, but when she does, she knows there's something not-so-fun heading her way. Not that I'm perfect but...

uh oh. I hear her in the kitchen. I just told her that if I catch her stealing food again she's going to time out, so I better get on that!

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